This morning was my third visit to the neurologist this year, and hopefully the last one. In the latest round of headache diagnosis we’re settling on Occipital Neuralgia. This is a medical condition characterized by chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the eyes. Occipital neuralgia is caused by damage to the lesser and greater occipital nerves. Ways in which they can be damaged include trauma (usually concussive), physical stress on the nerve, repetitious neck contraction, flexion or extension. Doc said that given my job as a fitness professional I’m likely to be bothered with it from now on. Oh joy. Managing the pain with oral meds or an injection in the base of the neck are my only options. Double oh joy. What’s a fitness professional/blogger to do? When I started making my rounds to the doctors I knew this wouldn’t be a Gray’s Anatomy situation where Dr. McDreamy would come in with a miracle cure and Meredith would do voice overs about the miraculous successful treatment. However, life goes on, there are clients/students to work with and bills to be paid.
The whole situation kind of reminds me of the last seemingly endless health scare I went through right before my CNN experience. What? You mean I haven’t told you about me and CNN? It’s going to take a couple of posts so check in with me regularly and I’ll tell you all about it. For now I have a super fudgy, liqueur soaked cake to share with you.
Yesterday I returned to the lovely cookbook, “Crave, a passion for chocolate”, by Maureen McKeon. With a few tweaks I turned her Sour Cream Cake into a TDF intense fudge dream. As a started assembling the ingredients, my fudgy alcohol dream cake began to look a little strange. The 4 ½ cups of dark chocolate had to be mixed with boiling water and baking soda. It looked like a bubbling chocolate pond, (or maybe it was the meds, HA!) Right after that, the pint sized diva started bellowing for oatmeal and I missed the step where I was supposed to add the cake enhancer I got from King Arthur’s during the creaming phase. I remembered it when I was folding in the beaten egg whites into the chocolate batter. At this point I figured what the heck I had more of everything on hand in case I had to re-bake it.
I swiped a finger full of batter and it tasted extremely flat and not at all sweet. Granted there was only 11oz of sugar in it so it wasn’t going to be over the top sweet. I divided the batter into the 8” pans and went upstairs to make oatmeal.
After baking I removed the cakes from the pan and sliced away the small crown in the center. Of course, I nibbled a bit of it. Still kinda flat. Geez Louise! Nothing to do but let it cool completely and pray that the frosting upped the sweet and taste meter. Now I was wondering if I should’ve left out the cake enhancer. I knew my cake needed some other type of enhancer and that’s when I pulled out the bottle of Kahlua. Yeah baby!!!
I brushed the tops (crust side up) and sides, but not too heavy, because I had other plans for the liqueur. The buttercream frosting I was making deserved a little Kahlua love also and it got some. I knew Gabbi wouldn’t be eating any so that wasn’t a problem. I also knew I’d be giving most of the cake away so it wouldn’t be staring at me all day. It came together nicely and I even garnished it with some leftover Valentine’s candy. This is a heavy cake, guess I used more liqueur than I thought, and to my surprise it’s good. Now I just have to make sure the Apple Crisp Queen takes it to work with her.
In my next post I’ll start the story of my lifestyle makeover with CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Kahlua Fudge Sour Cream Cake, adapted from Maureen McKeon
4 ½ oz dark chocolate
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
11 ½ oz superfine sugar, (I just used the granulated)
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 sour cream
2 TBS King Arthur’s Cake Enchancer (optional)
Candy garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8 inch round pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over the top. Stir in the baking soda and allow to cool until tepid. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the cake enhancer if you’re using it. Gradually add the egg yolks, then the vanilla, then the cooled chocolate mixture. It may look separated but don’t worry about it.
Sift the flour and baking powder together. Add to the mixture in two batches, alternately with the sour cream, and fold in with spatula. Using clean beaters and clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold in gently into the chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared pans and bake 40-45 minutes or until cakes test done. Allow to cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the wire racks to cool completely.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch style
2 TBS hot water
1 TBS Kahlua
1 ½ TBS whipping cream
2 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
With an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Blend the cocoa powder with the hot water and Kahlua to make a smooth paste. Add the blended cocoa and sifted powdered sugar to the butter and beat until thoroughly combined. Then add in the whipping cream and beat on medium high speed until light in texture and creamy. Use the mixture to fill and frost the cake. I made a double batch of frosting to have enough to fill and frost the cake all over. Garnish if you like.